Manama, Aug. 28 (BNA): Chief Executive Officer of the Labour Market Regulatory Authority (LMRA), H.E Mr. Jamal Abdulaziz Al Alawi, has affirmed LMRA’s readiness to implement the second phase of the Wage Protection System by early September.
Al Alawi lauded the swift response of employers and their keenness to join the system, whose first phase was launched in May, pursuant to the relevant Cabinet resolution, and in line with Edict 22/2021 issued by the Labour and Social Development on the implementation stages, praising the cooperation of the Central Bank of Bahrain (CBB) and the Bahrain Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BCCI).
He pointed out that as many as 256.200 workers benefit from the first two phases of the system.
He underlined LMRA’s keenness to translate the government’s directives to ensure that the labour market enjoys a high degree of fairness and flexibility into the ground, noting that the Wage Protection System is among the projects that contribute to achieving the government’s principles, as it ensures constant follow-up on employers’ commitment to paying wages as agreed and on time.
He indicated that the first stage has covered 85 employers and about 93,000 workers, adding that LMRA’s team is constantly contacting companies and institutions to remove any obstacles facing the payment of wages, especially during the grace period granted by the system at each stage.
Al-Alawi said that the second phase of the system covers employers with 50 – 499 employees, or 1,328 employers and 163,000 workers, noting that the commitment rate is already 46%, even before the official beginning of the second stage, on September 1.
He highlighted LMRA’s keenness to facilitate all procedures required for joining the system, allowing employers to open bank accounts for their employers at CBB-licensed banks without visiting LMRA.
He added that the Wage Protection System is characterised by its electronic linkage, involving CBB, LMRA and the relevant financial and banking institutions, praising the cooperation of CBB and BCCI, and the high level of readiness of the kingdom’s banking system to deal with the huge number of new bank accounts.
He lauded the banking sector’s keenness to provide the necessary information for the database of the LMRA’s Wage Protection System, and commitment to sending payment statements on a monthly basis, which enables LMRA to verify private institutions’ commitment to paying wages.
Al-Alawi called upon employers and workers to read the list of banks and financial institutions that deliver the Wage Protection System-related services, through visiting LMRA’s website, and contacting banks to open accounts and pay wages via them.
Under the Labour Minister’s Edict 22/2021, every employer shall commit to paying the wages of their employees via any payment methods provided by those licensed by the Central Bank of Bahrain, according to the following stages:
Stage One (May 1, 2021): Includes employers with (500) employees or more.
Stage Two (September 1, 2021): Includes employers with (50 – 499) employees.
Stage Three (January 1, 2022): Includes employers with (1 – 49) employees.
The system grants employers a grace period of six months at each stage, in order to address any potential obstacles facing them in joining the system.
Employers may join the system and pay their employees through it, even before the beginning of their prescribed stage.